News & Insights

Digital Identity Service Providers

Everything you need to know about identity service providers and identification document validation technology in the new era of digital Right to Work checks.

Since 6 April 2022, employers carrying out Right to Work checks have been able to engage the services of identity service providers (IDSPs), who use identification document validation technology (IDVT) to confirm the validity of documentation evidencing the Right to Work.

As it stands, IDSPs can only be used for Right to Work checks on individuals holding valid British or Irish passports. This rather limits the new scheme’s scope, although employers can continue to use the online service, which is free, for Right to Work checks on any individual with an Electronic Visa or Biometric Residence Permit. Employers can also still check original documents face-to-face – however, the adjusted checks were ceased on 30 September 2022, meaning that employers cannot carry out these checks over a video call anymore.

The Home Office believes that IDVT should help to reduce human error when checking fraudulent documentation and may therefore be preferable to manual checks. In certain circumstances, it may also be more cost effective for an employer to pay an IDSP, rather than carry out Right to Work checks manually. Different IDSPs are using different pricing models – some require a payment to setup an account, with fees then charged per check, while others offer pre-paid bundles of checks. Employers should forecast the volume of Right to Work checks they expect to carry out and decide which IDSP to go with from there, or whether it would make more commercial sense to simply carry out checks manually.

Employers are obliged to carry out their own due diligence, in order to satisfy themselves that the IDSP has correctly carried out an identity check on the employee in question and must retain a copy of said check throughout the employee’s employment and for two years post-termination.

The Home Office recommends that employers use one of the certified IDSPs, listed here. While employers are not required to use one of these certified IDSPs for their Right to Work checks, doing so will provide assurance that the relevant IDSP is acting in compliance with all of the relevant guidance.

DBS and Right to Rent checks can also be carried out via IDSPs – please note that, if you intend to engage an IDSP for DBS checks, then a certified IDSP must be used.

If you have any questions regarding Right to Work checks, please get in touch at [email protected]